Whether it is her mega-watt smile or equally warm persona, it is tough to not fall in love with Kornbread “The Snack” Jeté. After a dazzling runway performance where she shocked even Lizzo with her talent show performance, fans everywhere were shocked to see Kornbread leave the competition due to injury. While her Drag Race journey this season has ended, fans everywhere have high hopes that this is not the last they’ve seen of Kornbread. I caught up with “The Snack” to chat about her Drag Race experience, being so emotionally raw at times during her journey, and who it was like leaving the show so suddenly.
Michael Cook: Kornbread, please give your fans a little bit of reassurance; the bakery can’t be closed for good, perhaps just for a little while?
Kornbread “The Snack” Jeté: The bakery is closed for renovations. I am just waiting for our business partners to call me and tell me that I can reopen (laughs)!
MC: First of all, how are you feeling? Your elimination was a shock; how has your ankle healed since your injury on this season of RuPaul’s Drag Race?
K: The ankle is healed and together. It has its moments of reminding me to take care of myself, but the ankle is healed. I am back to work and causing trouble per usual.
MC: Your elimination was shocking and disappointing, to say the least. Did you know that you were initially injured and did anyone else know?
K: Yes, I knew the entire time. It happened earlier in the day, but I had kept it to myself, as I didn’t want to appear weak in front of everyone else. I had twisted my ankle, my body went one way and my leg went the other while I was performing. I told myself it was just a twisted ankle and felt the pain throughout the day, but I kept it to myself and told myself that I would be fine, and I didn’t want to put more pressure on the group, as a lot was going on already. I went through the day doing all of the physical activities on it and was putting more pressure on it. Once everything was done, I was sitting with Jorgeous and “Daya Bettica” (Daya Betty) and I was wearing my camouflage crocs. My ankle was so swollen inside of my crocs that I couldn’t take the shoe off. Jorgeous and Daya laughed, but then they said “no girl you gotta get that checked out”. That is when I saw a medic; that was after the runway the next day. The doctors told me that I was not allowed to be on my foot without a boot and wrapping it for long periods of time for six to eight weeks.
MC: What probably made it most heartbreaking was that while competitors have left the Drag Race competition before, they have never left without being able to say goodbye to their competitors. Willow Pill for one, was visibly upset. What was that like?
K: I think that was one of the hardest things for me also, knowing that I would not be able to see them and say goodbye. I knew that I would talk to them when everything was done, but in that particular moment with everything taking place, with everything they were doing at the time, it was definitely a rough moment. Some knew about me twisting my ankle, they just didn’t know the severity. At Drag Race, your mind should definitely be on yourself that is for sure.
MC: Speaking of, the minute that many people have about you is that you are a star baby. You would be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t like Kornbread. Everyone has fallen in love with you; do you think that is a fair assessment?
K: I think it is, it took me a little bit to have it settle in my spirit, but now they definitely have. It is insane to even see it really. I have accepted and realized that these people love me, but it has taken me a minute.
MC: To have what you do and who you are being validated by your fellow competitors and fans online is one thing, but to have it validated by people like RuPaul and Lizzo, how did that feel?
K: I think that was something that kept me going through the competition and really helped me keep pushing through. I’ve learned a lot though Drag Race, emotionally and to just hear that validation made me see that I chose the right path, this is for me, and I should keep going full throttle with this. it was pleasing to hear that and still is, I still watch those moments.
MC: For viewers, the one thing that was easy to fall in love with you about was your vulnerability; you have a rawness that truly came through the screen. Were you surprised that came through on-screen and through you during the process?
K: I didn’t expect any of it. On that first episode, I was just so excited just to be there and walking on the main stage. I think I described everything that was there…“that’s a camera… that’s another camera… there’s RuPaul wearing the wig” it was all of that. It was an “Oh My God Moment Moment” in my head every day and it just opened up; “holy crap I am sitting in this room”! It just opened up all of the emotions of happiness, I was just so excited to be there. I think that opened up the box; I was praising for allowing myself to be happy to be happy and accept myself maybe it is okay to be open here; that was it and it opened the box and all of the emotions started spilling out. I was allowed to be myself with no apologies.
MC: What is the one thing that you didn’t get to show that you really wish you had had the opportunity to do so?
K: A lot of people don’t know this but I studied musical theater, I am actually a vocalist, I studied singing and dancing for years. I was so excited to get my hands on a singing or dancing challenge just so I could test myself and go through all of that. No one got to see that; there is more to m than my goofiness and my craziness, there is so much more that I cold have given to everyone and I wasn’t able to do so.
MC: You got a great deal from your ‘Drag Race’ experience, but you also have provided a great deal to viewers at home in such a short time. When does Kornbread feel the most at home and “herself”?
K: Honestly, as cliché as it sounds the centered and grounded I have ever felt was being on the show. A lot of people, including myself, think that showing emotion is a sign of weakness. You think you are grounded and tough because no one gets to see you cry. For me, being so full of emotion and being so celebrated on the show, that was my first time feeling the most grounded in my life. It gave me the energy and strength to talk to my family and to talk about my troubles and things I have dealt with. I feel like a person being able to do that and deal with all that, that is a moment of being centered and grounded. The most centered I have felt in my life is being on that show; I was celebrated for everything that I came in with. It was never “we don’t like you for who you are or what you are offering, we just want to see things get better and see ways you can enhance it”. “You are phenomenal but now lets make you extremely phenomenal”. I think the show was definitely my center ground.
Follow Kornbread “The Snack” Jeté on Instagram